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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Love or Violence

I heard Stan Dale once say, “There is either love or violence.  And even violence is a cry for love.”  I heard him say that, but what the heck does it mean?  What was he talking about?

You have to understand, this guy was my mentor, my guru.  The things he did and said, the workshops he created, the experiences he fed me… they changed my life.  I am content and calm in my old age because he showed me how.

By the same token this was a guy who would put his foot in his mouth.  He messed up often and when he was called on it he’d always own up: a humble man who had no compunctions about eating humble pie when called for.  But he made no apologies for saying there is either love or violence, and even violence is a cry for love.  

I cannot wrap my head around it.  What is love?  And for that matter what is violence?  Interestingly, the workshops Stan created about love don’t tell what it is.  Instead they offer a series of exercises so I can explore what love is for me.  Thanks a lot.

And regarding violence… the workshops don’t explore that at all.

So here I am in this place of confusion.  My head says this is ridiculous.  Whatever love is, whatever violence is, there must be more to human existence than just these two.  And violence as a cry for love?  What about rape?  What about war?  What about hate?  What about greed?  How can it all be reduced down to love like some kind of binomial equation?

I don’t know the answer to that.  But my problem is this guy was not some naive airhead.  His life experiences took him to profound places.  I’m not going to dismiss him just because my head says this is absurd.  Instead my plan is to create space to notice who am I and what happens in my life?  My life… not other lives on the other side of the world; not who’s killing each other in the Middle East and why?  (By now, who knows why?) 

What is violence for me?  What is love for me?  Is there anything else?  I just want to open my heart and see what shows up.

I’ll keep you posted.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Eric, for putting words to this being human. In my work with children all day, I practice seeing their acts of bullying, meanness, withdrawal as requests for love and acceptance. Perhaps with children it is easier because there are fewer layers built up over their raw (core) emotional needs. It's harder with adults for me...I'm wondering now if that's because longer-held patterns can start to look like the only choice. Self-inquiry around this...
    I appreciate how you've expressed choice as a HAI tenet, this too has been a major learning in the workshops for me. As someone who resisted for years because "I don't need that" I now have done 8 levels, and am still learning how to embrace my own choices and those of my fellow beings.
    Love is big. Thanks for including us all.